My One Year Old

When did this happen?

How big is Ben? Sooooo big!

How big is Ben? Sooooo big!

We were out to dinner with friends last night. Our friend asked if we were already forgetting things about when Ben was small. Ted forgets everything (he knows it) already so his answer was an obvious, “yes.” Mine was the same, though, and that troubled me. There is so much I do remember–the way he used to hum “mmm, mmm, mmm” while he nursed; how it felt to hold his teeny, tiny self; the way I swaddled him in the middle of the night…but, so much is fading too.

It seems like so much is happening in his life right now. He’s developing so quickly, getting bigger, learning more, and showing us his personality all the time. He can say and sign many words: More (also a sign), all done (only a sign), ball, dog (his first “real word” after mama and dada), Mama, Dada, Mema, hat, hot (points to fireplace), door, hi, and horse. He can tell us what the sheep, elephant, squirrel, fish, and car say. He loves to help–shutting doors; taking off his hat, shoes, and socks; bringing us things; turning his face to have his nose wiped; putting his pacifiers back in the crib in the morning; and putting the cap back on his sippy cup. Speaking of sippy cups, he’s not using a bottle anymore at all. He’s been sleeping through the night for a while (people always ask). He can take a few steps on his own, but mostly still needs to hold onto something–hands, a walker toy, furniture, his aunt’s dog–to get up and from place to place.

Baby's first bacon.

Baby’s first bacon.

He’s small and I spend way too much time worrying about this. He weighed 19 pounds at his 1-year check-up. He was right on his growth curve–the 15th percentile–and there was nothing to worry about, the pediatrician said. Later that night, I shared my concerns with my mother who reminded me that when I was right around the one-year mark, she’d asked the pediatrician when they could first do a test for dwarfism. He laughed at her. Of course. And I’m not tall, but I’m pretty normal. Ben is not a great eater. He’s not picky, exactly, but it just doesn’t take much to keep his little body going. There are foods he loves: cheerios, puffs (little round super-mini-rice cake kinda things for babies), grilled cheese anything, yogurt with or without fruit, lasagna and pasta with red sauce, bread/toast, eggs, smoothies–even when I sneak in spinach, and fruit of all kinds but especially blueberries and bananas. He is working on eating with a fork, but mostly eating is a shove fistfuls in face exercise. He’s a joker at mealtimes–holding out a piece of food for me to “try,” but then quickly putting it into his own mouth with a sly smile that says, “psyche!” Cracks me up every time.

He loves, loves, LOVES music. Mema is teaching him to play the piano–letting him plink-plink-plink the keys and sit on the bench like a big kid. He has a few musical toys that he plays with constantly, hitting just the right buttons to play his favorite tune and then doing a little bouncy dance to celebrate and looking around to see if we are all dancing too (we often join in). If he’s fussy in his car seat or on his changing table, a round of Old McDonald is guaranteed to make him smile. I’ve sung that song for so long on occasion that the old farmer has started raising wildlife: elephants, lions, and the like–I’d run out of the standard farm variety! Wind chimes are a favorite and Ted is forever going out in the cold to “play” the ones on the back porch that Ben can see from his highchair, while I am forever picking him up to reach the ones at school.

He loves sledding. Really he does.

He loves sledding. Really, he does.

School. He just loves going to school. It’s “just daycare,” but we call it school anyway and rightfully so, really, because he learns so much about getting along with others, manners, and all kinds of other things there. His teachers are loving and fun and warm and wonderful. They work with us as a team to help him through the sticky points of being a small person–having to wear a bib, sit in a highchair, hand back your cup, not throw toys that aren’t balls, take naps…all those life hurdles of a wee one.

Ben also loves being outside. Going outdoors calms him down when he’s wound up or upset. He loves riding in the backpack, sled, stroller and wagon. He loves playing at the playground, where they have a tube he can crawl back and forth through. He loves swinging. Mema and Papa take him on walks every Thursday and Friday when the weather isn’t totally horrible and they visit the local horses and ducks. He loves to take his walker on laps in the front yard on sunny afternoons and to play with the rocks and bark in the landscaping. He watches birds, bunnies, and squirrels at the feeder.

Dislikes. I guess we should mention those: getting his runny nose wiped, getting his face wiped after meals, a whole bunch of foods (too many to list), long car rides…and that’s about it. I mean, he gets frustrated at things like we all do, but for the most part he is a super happy kid. We are terribly lucky on that count.

So tell me, what do you remember from when your kids were one? How did you save your memories–photos, baby books, something else?

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